Garland ISD, Cities Discuss School Safety Upgrades

City leaders would like to add more school resource officers

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Garland Independent School District leaders met Thursday to talk about how to ramp up security by adding more school resource officers at the district's schools. (Published Thursday, Feb 7, 2013)

    Leaders of the three North Texas cities within the Garland school district met with the district Thursday to discuss how to ramp up school security.

    Garland, Rowlett and Sachse hope to beef up security by adding more school resource officers and restricting access to school buildings, among other safety upgrades.

    The Garland Independent School District has 32 school resource officers, making it the biggest such program in the Metroplex. The program, which started in 1992, has one resource officer at every Garland high school and middle school and several at elementary schools

    Garland Police Chief Mitch Bates told the audience that there is always more work to do.

    Sachse police said the growing city still needs more school officers.

    "In particular, the high school has grown dramatically and is growing and is being added onto now and one SRO is just ... not going to be enough," Sachse Chief Dennis Veach said.

    As always, it comes down to money. In Garland, the city splits the costs of the school resource officers with the district 50-50, costing each about $1.2 million.

    "We are not going to sacrifice the safety of all our 58,000-plus kids for a dollar," said Linda Griffin, Garland school trustee. "We will find a dollar to make sure all of our students at all of our campuses are safe."

    City leaders and the district are trying to figure out how each city can pay for extra school resource officers fairly and proportionally.

    "It's a very good program," Garland Mayor Pro Tem John Willis. "It seems to be working quite well, and we are proud of it. At this point, it's very preliminary, and we do need to let our staff examine our questions and come back with whatever solutions for problems."